Redbird Ranger District

Our office has moved to virtual work until further notice, and to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers, we are not selling maps or passes IN PERSON. However, continuing our service to you is very important and we are available to help you! Please call 859-444-4676 for any inquiries and assistance. Learn more about getting passes and maps.

Daniel Boone National Forest numbers

The Redbird Ranger District Office was built in 1924 by the Fordson Coal Company, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company. The building served as living quarters for survey crews, engineers and draftsmen. Crafted by local woodworkers and stonemasons, the building features handmade wall paneling in walnut, oak, maple and American chestnut. The sandstone for the foundation and interior fireplaces was hand-cut from nearby sources.

View pdf file of the Redbird History brochure

Redbird Ranger District
91 Peabody Road
Big Creek, KY 40914

District Ranger: Bobby Claybrook
Acreage: 145,850
Counties: Clay, Leslie, Owsley, Perry, Harlan and Knox.

Directions to Ranger Station: From the Hal Rogers Parkway, take Big Creek Exit #34. Turn right at the end of the exit ramp onto KY 66. Go 0.7 miles (passing under the parkway) to the intersection with US 421/KY 80. Turn right and go 0.8 miles, and then turn left onto KY 66. Continue on KY 66 for 1.7 miles. The Redbird Ranger District office is on the right. 

Latitude: 37.13892191
Longitude: -83.59016977

Learn about recreation opportunities on Redbird District.

Redbird Crest Trail

Redbird Crest Trail provides nearly 100 miles of recreation for off-highway vehicle use, hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. Trailhead parking is available at three separate locations. One of the parking areas is located across the river from the Redbird Ranger Station, and the other two areas are located at the trail junctions with Sugar Creek Road (Forest Road 1600) and Bear Creek. 

This trail is popular with riders who enjoy the challenge of rugged terrain and the adventure of riding. The trail is open all year. For motorized trail riders, remember:

  • No off-trail travel is allowed.
  • You must wear a helmet.
  • A fee pass is required.
  • It is illegal to operate an ATV on most public highways and roads, including Forest Service roads. (KRS 189.515). Check status before riding an ATV on any public road. Motor Vehicle Use Maps are available that show road stauts.

Picnic Areas

Redbird Ranger District maintains two picnic areas for the public. Come to Big Double Creek Picnic Area or Cawood Recreation Area to picnic in the cool shade of creekside woodlands. Enjoy fields big enought to play softball, volleyball and horseshoes. Both sites provide accessible toilets.

Redbird Wildlife Management Area

This 25,529-acre area in Leslie and Clay counties is mostly wooded with about 100 acres in developed wildlife openings. This wildlife management area is managed cooperatively with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources to help sustain species populations for hunting and fishing.

Learn about elk viewing on Redbird Ranger District.

Redbird History

One of the most significant federal land purchase programs after World War II was the Red Bird Purchase Unit in Kentucky. Most of the land was acquired during the late 1960s and early 1970s. These lands today are part of the Redbird Ranger District of the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Congressional legislation in the 1890s authorized the creation of national forests from land in the public domain.

Fordson Building in 1940In 1911, the Weeks Act provided the means to purchase “forested, cut-over or denuded lands within the watersheds of navigable streams.” It was followed by the Clarke-McNary Act, which allowed the production of timber as another purpose for forest land acquisition. Purchase units were designated by Congress and the Forest Service started purchasing land.

pdf file of map below

Redbird Ranger District Map